Exiled Pilgrims: Memoirs of Pre-Cultural Revolution Zhiqing

By Sun, Yi | Journal of Global South Studies, Spring 2018 | Go to article overview

Exiled Pilgrims: Memoirs of Pre-Cultural Revolution Zhiqing


Sun, Yi, Journal of Global South Studies


Deng, Peng, ed. Exiled Pilgrims: Memoirs of Pre-Cultural Revolution Zhiqing. Boston, MA: Brill, 2015.

This book is a collection of thirty-two gripping personal accounts by a group of zhiqing (educated youth who were sent down) that detail their extraordinary experiences during a pivotal period in Chinese history. While there is no shortage of historical literature on the sent-down youth during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), this volume clearly distinguishes itself from the rest with its focus on the lives of zhiqing who were dispatched to rural areas prior to the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution in August 1966. Collectively, the authors of these accounts have documented the lives of young men and women who were either compelled to join the movement because of their class background or who chose to do so in their idealistic pursuit of a Utopia that was peddled to them through relentless political propaganda. Illustrated with photos and drawings that evince historical memories and bring a sense of immediacy to readers, these stories are vivid, captivating, deeply moving, and profoundly sobering all at once.

Contrary to the common assumption that the zhiqing movement began during the Cultural Revolution, the contributors to this book attest to the fact that it actually started earlier. It was a campaign that set the stage for a decadelong nightmare for tens of thousands of Chinese young people. Compared to their counterparts who were sent to rural China in subsequent years, these pre-Cultural Revolution zhiqing were sent down primarily because of their undesirable family background. The 1.3 million pre-Cultural Revolution zhiqing, who were victims of political and economic expediency in the face of the government's efforts to reduce an urban unemployment rate that had been made worse by Mao's policies that encouraged unchecked population growth, suffered physically, spiritually, and psychologically. Many survived, some did not.

The editor, who also serves as translator, has done a superb job of organizing the individual narratives into four parts with distinctive yet overlapping themes. Together they delve into the reasons the young men and women participated in the pre-Cultural Revolution zhiqing movement, their experiences in the rural areas, and their journey back to the cities toward the end of the Cultural Revolution. A recurring theme that threads through all the stories is the fact that these teenagers were ruthlessly manipulated by an all-powerful political machine. Programed to believe in the infallibility of the Communist Party and propelled by their youthful idealism and desire to be "true revolutionaries," some answered the call of the party by becoming voluntary participants in the movement (p. 43). Others were forced to join the campaign because they were sons and daughters of the "exploiter" class of landlords or rich peasants, because their parents were intellectuals who had opposed early PRC policies, or because a member of their extended family had served in the Nationalist Army or their family had overseas connections.

A second commonality that underscores these personal experiences is the harsh reality the unsuspecting urban youth experienced and their resultant sense of betrayal, disillusionment, and abandonment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Exiled Pilgrims: Memoirs of Pre-Cultural Revolution Zhiqing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.